Resources for Schools
Food allergy is a growing public health issue that impacts almost every school across the United States. Nearly 6 million children in the U.S. – which equates to 1 in 13, or roughly 2 in every classroom – have a food allergy.
Studies indicate that 16-18% of school-age children who have food allergies have had a reaction in school. In addition, in approximately 25% of the reactions that occur at school, the student had not yet been diagnosed with food allergy.1
Schools should develop policies to manage food allergies appropriately, including information on handling medical emergencies and taking preventative measures to avoid a student’s exposure to a known food allergen. Physicians, families, and school staff should work together to formulate reasonable and practical plans that will keep students with food allergies safe.
FARE has a variety of resources schools can use to help create a safer environment for students with food allergies and increase awareness among the student body. These include:
- National Guidelines: In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the first national comprehensive guidelines for school food allergy management, “Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Programs. ” FARE, the National Association of School Nurses and other groups collaborated with the CDC on the development of these guidelines.
- Recommended Practices for Reducing the Risk of Exposure to Food Allergens: A resource included in the CDC guidelines above, this document outlines recommended practices and accommodations for the classroom, cafeteria, transportation, school events, and physical education and recess to reduce the risk of exposure to food allergens and keep children with food allergies safe and included.
- State Guidelines: Links to guidelines released by specific states.
- School Guidelines for Managing Students with Food Allergies: This document outlines the responsibilities of families, schools, and students in minimizing risks and providing a safe environment for students with food allergy.
Resources and Critical Documents
Additional resources schools may find useful:
A Critical Need for Food Allergy Policies in Schools
A report in the New England Journal of Medicine titled “Fatal and Near-Fatal Anaphylactic Reactions to Food in Children and Adolescents” indicated that four of the six deaths from food allergy examined in the report occurred in school, and were associated with significant delays in treating the reactions with epinephrine.
Several other studies that have looked at food allergy and anaphylaxis management in schools and childcare settings have found inadequate food allergy management plans and inadequate recognition of allergic symptoms and treatment with epinephrine.
1. Administration of Epinephrine for Life-Threatening Allergic Reactions in School Settings. CL Mcintyre, AH Sheetz, CR Carroll, MC Young. Pediatrics. Vol. 116, No. 5. Nov. 2005